Monday, March 28, 2011

Consumer Visual Package Tracking: It's Only a Matter of Time

At the gym, I had an idea that I thought was clever, but then I realized was kind of obvious. (It was caused, no doubt, from that oscillation between increased blood flow and decreased oxygen availability to the brain that you get with exercise.)

The idea was to have shippers like FedEx or UPS ("LOGISTICS") install digital cameras at all package tracking checkpoints, so that when a package is scanned, a photo is taken and made available for all your obsessive package-tracking needs.

It would include a digital camera in the hand-held package scanner, so the delivery person could snap a photo of the package on your porch, as proof of delivery.

It turns out, of course, that the technology pretty much exists -- visual package tracking -- and is in use... just in specialized industrial applications, not on the mass consumer scale yet:

Mobotix Visual Package Tracking
Visual package tracking system photo from Mobotix.

I expect someone like Amazon or Zappos will start rolling it out soon.

The next step, of course, involves clear-topped delivery trucks and UAVs, but I'll save that for the patent application.


kanyixin said...

*sigh* ... Years ago when I first heard of tracking packages, I thought it meant you could get online and see a map with a dot to show where the delivery truck was real-time. I guess they'd use GPS or whatever. Not just "it left the warehouse yesterday" but, "at noon it crossed the border into NJ, wahoo!" I was horribly disappointed when I actually tracked my first package.

Joelogon said...

You were just a little ahead of your time. Either that, or you didn't haul around very many briefcases full of drug money down in West Texas.